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The female gendarmes are off low going off because he feels as if he guard occasionally. The sitting-room were not wanted. has its solitary moments, when any two She had her locked drawing-book boarders who wish to meet may come to- under her arm. — Let me take it,-I gether accidentally, (accidentally, I said, said. Madam, and I had not the slightest in- She gave it to me to carry. tention of Italicizing the word,) and dis- This is full of caricatures of all of us, cuss the social or political questions of I am sure,- said I. the day, or any other subject that may She laughed, and said, — No,-not all prove interesting. Many charming conversations take place at the foot of the I was there, of course ? stairs, or while one of the parties is hold- Why, no,—she had never taken so ing the latch of a door,-in the shadow of much pains with me. porticos, and especially on those outside Then she would let me see the inside balconies which some of our Southern of it? neighbors call “stoops,” the most charm- She would think of it. ing places in the world when the moon Just as we parted, she took a little key is just right and the roses and honey- from her pocket and handed it to me. suckles are in full blow,—as we used to – This unlocks my naughty book,- she think in eighteen hundred and never said, - you shall see it. I am not afraid mention it.
On such a balcony or “stoop,” one I don't know whether the last words evening, I walked with Iris. We were exactly pleased me. At any rate, I on pretty good terms now, and I had took the book and hurried with it to coaxed her arm under mine, - my left my room. I opened it, and saw, in a arm, of course. That leaves one's right few glances, that I held the heart of Iris arm free to defend the lovely creature, in my hand. if the rival - odious wretch!- attempt to ravish her from your side. Likewise I have no verses for you this if one's heart should happen to beat a lit- month, except these few lines suggested tle, its mute language will not be with by the season. out its meaning, as you will perceive when the arm you hold begins to tremble,-a circumstance like to occur, if
MIDSUMMER. you happen to be a good-looking young fellow, and you two have the “stoop” to
HERE! sweep these foolish leaves away,yourselves.
I will not crush my brains to-day! We had it to ourselves that evening. Look! are the southern curtains drawn? The Koh-i-noor, as we called him, was Fetch me a fan, and so begone! in a corner with our landlady's daughter. The fellow John was smoking out
Not that, - the palm-tree's rustling leaf young in the yard. The gendarme was afraid
Brought from a parching coral-reef !
Its breath is neated;-I would swing of the evening air, and kept inside. The
The broad gray plumes, — the engle's wing. young Marylander came to the door, looked out and saw us walking together, I hate these roses' feverish blood! gave his hat a pull over his forehead and Pluck me a half-blown lily-bud, stalked off. I felt a slight spasm, as it A long-stemmed lily from the lake, were, in the arm I held, and saw the
Cold as a coiling water-snake. girl's head turn over her shoulder for a second. What a kind creature this is !
Rain me sweet odors on the air,
And wheel me up my Indian chair, She has no special interest in this youth,
And spread some book not overwise but she does not like to see a young fel- Flat out before my sleepy eyes.
One little hour to lie unseen
- Who knows it not,- this dead recoil
O Nature! bare thy loving breast
So, curtained by a singing pine,
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
Life and Liberty in America : or Sketches of all sides, - in which the bitter and the
of a Tour in the United States and Can- sweet have been deftly mingled, with the ada in 1857–8. By Charles Mackay, obvious belief that persons aggrieved, while LL.D., F. S. A. London: Smith, Elder, suffering from the authors' stings, would & Co. 1859.
derive comfort from the consciousness of
accompanying honey. These hopes gen“Let him come back and write a book erally proved fallacious, and the authors, about the 'Merrikins as'll pay all his ex- falling to the ground between the two penses and more, if he blows 'em up stools of American sensitiveness and Brit enough,” urged Mr. Anthony Weller, by ish asperity, were regarded in the light way of climax to his scheme for Mr Pick- of stern warnings by many of their sucwick's liberation from the Fleet Prison. cessors, who straightway became pitiWhether Mr. Dickens, in putting forth less. this suggestion through one of his favor- The critical works on America by Engite characters, had or had not a view to lish writers, published during the last subsequent operations of his own, has long fifty years, may be numbered by hunbeen a sore question among his admirers dreds. Of these, nearly half have at differon this side of the Atlantic. We believe ent times been reprinted in this country. that he had not; and that such “blowing. Most of them are now unknown, having up” as he imparted to the people of this passed to that oblivion of letters from country was wholly unpremeditated and whose bourn no short-sighted and narrow. spontaneous, besides being of so harmless minded traveller ever ought to return. a nature that the patriot of most uneasy The annual harvest began to appear about virtue need have been nowise distressed a half-century ago, when little more than in consequence. The language can show descriptions of scenery and geographical few more amusing books than the “Ameri- statistics were ventured upon, — although can Notes,” especially the serious parts one quaint explorer, John Lambert, vouchthereof.
safed, in 1810, some sketches of society, Mr. Dickens had plenty of objects be- from which we learn, among other intersides his future self at which to aim his esting facts, that a species of Bloomerism satirical shot. At the time he discharged pervaded New York, and flourished on it, the literary market of England was Broadway, even at that early day. Our overstocked with books on America, the visitors very soon enlarged the sphere of authors of which had apparently tasked their observations, and entered upon the the best energies of their lungs in inces- widest discussions of republican manners sant" blowings-up” of all that came with and morals. Slavery, as was to be expectin range of their breath. Up to that period, ed, received immediate attention. In the though viewing America from various course of ten years, "American Tours” stand-points, they had seldom failed to had set in with such rigor, that one writer recognize this one essential element of felt called upon to apologize for adding ansuccess. Since then, however, attempts other to the already profuse supply. This have been made to satisfy the prejudices was in 1818. For the next fifteen years, the
principle of unlimited mockery was quite faithfully observed. The Honorable De Roos, who made a naval examination in 1826, and satisfied himself that the United States could never be a maritime power, Colonel Maxwell, who entered upon a military investigation, and came to a similar conclusion respecting our prospects as to army, and who gained great credit for independent judgment by pronouncing Niagara a humbug, - Mrs. Kemble, frisky and fragmentary, excepting when her father was concerned, and then filially diffuse, - Mrs. Trollope, who refused to incumber herself with amiability or veracity,-Mr. Lieber, who was principally troubled by a camp
meeting at which he assisted, — Miss Martineau, who retailed too much of the gossip that had been decanted through the tunnel of her trumpet, - and Captain Marryatt, who was simply clownish, — afford fair examples of the style which dominated until about 1836 or 1837. Then works of a better order began to appear. America received scientific attention. It had been agriculturally worked up in 1818 by Cobbett, whose example was now followed by Shirreff and oth
In 1839, George Combe subjected us to phrenological treatment, and had the frankness to acknowledge that it was impossible for an individual to properly describe a great nation. Afterwards came Lyell, the geologist, who did not, however, confine himself to scientific research, but also analyzed the social deposits, and ascertained that Slavery was triturable. The manufacturers of gossip, meanwhile, had revolutionized the old system. Mr. Dickens blew hot and cold, uniting extremes. Godley, in 1844, disavowed satire, and was solemnly severe. Others evinced a similar disposition, but the result was not triumphant. Alexander Mackay, in 1846, returned to ridicule ; and Alfred Bunn, a few years after, surpassed even Marryatt in his flippant falsehood. Mr. Arthur Cunynghame, a Canadian officer, entertained his friends, in 1850, with a dainty volume, in which the first personal pronoun averaged one hundred to a page, and the manner of which was as stiff as the ramrods of his regiment. Of our more recent judges, the best remembered are Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley. who gave to the world the details of her private experiences, — Mr. Chambers, of whose book there is really
nothing in particular to say, - Mr. Baxter, who considered Peter Parley a shining light of American literature - Miss Murray, who sacrificed her interests at St. James's upon the shrine of Antislavery, Mr. Phillipps, scientific,-Mr. Russell, agri. cultural, — Mr. Jobson, theological,- and Mr. Colley Grattan, who may be termed the Sir Anthony Absolute of American censors, insisting that the Lady Columbia shall be as ugly as he chooses, shall have a hump on each shoulder, shall be as crooked as the crescent, and so forth.
Last of all comes Mr. Charles Mackay's book. Before proceeding to the few general words we have to say of it, let us look for a moment at a question which he, like a number of his predecessors, has considered with some attention. Why it is that the people of the United States manifest such acute sensibility to the strictures of English writers, and receive their criticisms with so much suspicion, Mr. Mackay is unable fully to determine. He is forced to believe that it is only their anxiety “to stand well in English opinion which causes them to wince"; particularly as “French and Germans may condemn, and nobody cares what they say.” This is but a part of the truth. Unquestionably, Americans do, as Mr. Mackay says, "attach undue importance to what English travellers may say”; but this does not account for the universal feeling of mortification which follows the appear. ance of each new tourist's story. Americans have not failed to observe, that, of the hundreds of writers who come over, only a few of the most prominent of whom we have mentioned above, not one in fifty is animated by a sincere impulse of honest good-will. They have learned to mistrust them all, as triflers with our reputation, if not predetermined calumniators. They have witnessed over and over again the childish ignorance, the discourtesy, the vulgar deceptions of this class of bookmakers. They are not blind to these repeated struggles to est a mass of mental food for years, in days or weeks. They know their nation cannot be understood by these chance viewers, feebly glancing through greenest spectacles, any more than the Atlantic can be sounded with a seven-fathom line. They have become familiar with the English traveller only to regard him with contempt. Each
new production has opened the old wound. in New York, in payment for a ride of Each new announcement awakens only two miles; nor do we mourn for the derisive expectations. As for “French numerous other dollars with which he reand Germans," with them it is very dif- luctantly parted to satisfy the rapacity of ferent; and Mr. Mackay ought to know it. hack-drivers all over the Union. We do They commonly write, if not with compre- not thrill with indignation, when we learn hensive vision, at least with integrity of that he was, on a certain occasion, swept purpose. The best works on America are by crinolines into the middle of Broadway. by Frenchmen. What Englishman has Neither are we in any way stirred by such sliown the sincerity and fairness of De information as, that he, like an English Tocqueville or Chevalier? Knowing, then, lord of whom he tells, was accustomed to that absurd malice and a capacity for mi- eat oysters every night in New York; or croscopic investigation of superficial irreg- that he “was pervaded, permeated, steepularities in a society not yet defined are ed, and bathed in a longing desire to bethe principal, and in many cases the only, hold Niagara,” and that, when he beheld qualifications deemed necessary to accom- it, his “ feelings were not so much those of plish an English book on America, is it astonishment as of an overpowering sense matter for wonder that Americans should of Law”; or that a peddler in a railroadhesitate to kiss the clumsy rods so liberal- car sold nine bottles of quack medicine at ly dispensed ?
a dollar a bottle; or that he had eight We hasten to say that Mr. Charles Mac- pages of interview with a Baltimore madkay's “Life and Liberty in America” is man, who proved his insanity by perpetuunusually free from the worst of these ally calling Mr. Mackay the “Prince of faults. Hasty judgments, offences against the Poets of England.” The dreary sotaste, inaccuracies, occasional revelations lemnity with which these incidents are of personal pique it has; but it is not ma- narrated renders them doubly tedious. licious. Sometimes it is even affecting in A flash of humor might enliven them, but its tenderness. It breathes a spirit of pa- we never see a spark. Mr. Mackay's ternal regard. But it is, perhaps, the dull- comic stories, too, of which there are not est of books. If not “icily regular," it is a few, are most lamentable specimens of "splendidly null.” The style is as oppres- wit, suggesting forcibly the poppy-seeds sive as a London fog. It is marked, to spoken of by Mr. Pillicoddy, which are use the author's own words, by elegant soporific in tendency, and which, if taken and drowsy stagnation.” After the first incessantly for a period of three weeks, few pages, it is with weariness that we produce instant death. follow him. We are inclined to think
Mr. Mackay's experiences were not of a Mr. Mackay has written too much. Mr. startling character. He travelled leisurely, Squeers had milk for three of his pupils and recorded discreetly. His blunders on watered up to the necessities of five. Mr. a large scale are not numerous; but of Mackay's experiences might have sustain- minor facts, he announces many which ed him through a single small volume, but may be classed among the remarkable dishe has diluted them to the requirements coveries of the season. He states that of two large ones. This would injure the New York, New Jersey, (!) and Brooklyn prospects of his work in America, but may form one city; that Broadway, N. Y., is not interfere with them in England. Mi- decorated with elms, willows. and mounnute details of toilet agonies, pecuniary tain-ashes, “ drooping in green beauty”; miseries, laundry tribulations, and anxie- that persons with decent coats and clean ties of appetite may possess an interest shirts in Boston may be safely put down abroad which we are nab to appreciate as lecturers, Unitarian ministers, or poets ; here. We are not excited by the intel- that Maryland and Virginia are one comligence that Mr. Mackay had an alter- monwealth ; that eighteen months before cation with a negro servant on board a every Presidential election, a cause of Sound steamer, because he could not quarrel is made with England by both the have lager-beer at table. Such things principal political parties, for the purpose have been noticed before. We do not of securing the Irish vote; that measly shed a sympathetic tear over the two pork is caused by too hasty insertion in dollars which he once had to disgorge brine after killing, and consequent rapid VOL. IV.
fermentation ; that the people of the United music is all wrong. The first opera by an States, unless they have travelled in Eu- American was produced in 1845; and it is rope, are quite unable to appreciate wit. not true that this is a solitary example. [Mr. Mackay's wit? If so, certainly.] Were it possible for us to pursue them, These are but random pluckings from a we should run down more errors of this rich blossoming.
kind than a prudent man would have put The subject upon which the author has into print. labored most earnestly is that of Slavery. Altogether, while we readily admit that If the views he sets forth are the result of Mr. Mackay has honestly, and, in general, his own investigation, he is entitled to cred- good-naturedly, performed his duty as an it for unusual exactness. There is noth- American chronicler, renouncing in a great ing new about them, to be sure ; but there measure the old principle of “blowingis also nothing absurd, which is a great up,” and that his essays do not reek with point. He maintains the argument against ignorance, like those of many of his preSlavery, that it is to be practically con- decessors, it is yet proper to say that he sidered in its injurious influences on the has achieved a stupendous bore. His two white people of the Slave States, and volumes are to us a melancholy rememthrough them, on the nation at large. brance. Their life is spiced with no variWhen he undertakes an emotional view of ety. The same dead level of dry personal the "institution,” he becomes feeble again. detail speaks through each chapter; or He thus describes his sensations while visit- if occasional relief is afforded, it is "in ing a slave-market in New Orleans:—“I liquid lines mellifluously bland,” and proentertained at that moment such a hatred sier than all the rest. The one source of of slavery, that, had it been in my power amusement that the reader will discover to abolish it in an instant off the face of is the complacent self-confidence which no the earth by the mere expression of my assumption of modesty can hide. "A conwill, slavery at that moment would have troversy had been raging for at least a ceased to exist,” — an avowal which will week” in Philadelphia about the author's hardly be likely to confound the American letters in the “Illustrated London News." people by its boldness.
His defender was "one of the most inThe statistical information in these vol- Auential and best-conducted papers of the umes is as accurate as that of ordinary Union”; his assailant behaved "scurvily." gazetteers. In most cases, the author ap- We cannot lavish examples. This is the pears to have drawn his information from
type of a hundred. Mr. Mackay seems proper sources. The principal exceptions to expect that his Jeremiad on tobaccoto this are shown in one or two statements chewing and spitting will act in America which he makes on the authority of his as St. Patrick's spells did on the vermin Pylades, Colonel Fuller, and in his re- of Ireland. Unfortunately, it will not. marks upon Canada, which are colored Mr. Dickens attempted the same thing in with excessive warmth. Mr. Mackay rests a much better manner,— excepting where greater hopes upon the future of Canada Mr. Mackay has copied him exactly, as he than upon that of the United States. He has once or twice,- and even the novelist's considers the Canadians as the rivals in efforts were fruitless. On the other hand, energy, enterprise, and industry of the the main source of annoyance will be people of the United States. His testi- found in the needless elevation of minute mony differs from that of Lord Durham, evils, and the determination to form genwho had good opportunities for knowing eral judgments from ‘isolated experiences. something about the matter when he had But of this we do not much complain. charge of Canadian affairs, and who de- Rome derived some benefit from the clared, that "on the American side of the cackling of a goose. Possibly we may be frontier all is activity and bustle," etc., made in some respects a wiser and a better “on the British side all seems waste and nation through Mr. Mackay's influence. desolate.”
For ourselves, however, if our aspirations Mr. Mackay gives correctly the most ever turn toward a literary Paradise, we prominent names of American literature, shall pray that it may be one where travbut his list of artists is very imperfect. ellers cease from troubling and dull tourThe little that he says about American ists are at rest.